49ers can’t sit on leads

By Richard Brear  |   Wednesday, November 19, 2008  |  Comments( 1 )

San Francisco 49ers
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Fans of the 49ers are delirious about the superb performance of San Francisco’s offense and defense in the team's 35-16 home trouncing of the St. Louis Rams last Sunday. And who can blame fans for their joy? Mike Squared (Mike Singletary and Mike Martz, of course) have now shown they can direct a wonderfully lopsided San Francisco win even as shockwaves of Singletary’s midseason takeover and of Martz’s brain burp late in last week’s Cardinals game subside.

Yes, the Niners enjoyed a 35-3 lead in the third quarter against the Rams. But now’s probably an opportune time to see why five touchdowns in the first half of the Rams game and not a single point in the second half is a risk the Niners can ill-afford to establish as their modus operandi.

Take a trip down Memory Lane for a quick look at the greatest comeback in NFL history. Down 35-3 to Houston in the 1992-93 AFC wild-card round, the home Buffalo Bills stormed back to win 41-38 in overtime.

Perhaps that’s an isolated, extreme example of a victorious comeback from a large lead? Not quite. In 1980, the 49ers themselves played spoiler in another such come-from-way-behind win over the New Orleans Saints. Trailing 35-7 at the half, Joe Montana and the rest of the Niners orchestrated what ultimately became a 38-35 win for San Francisco in OT. Back then, in Year 2 of the Bill Walsh era, the 49ers achieved the league's best all-time comeback.

So, major leads are never truly comfortable leads. If the 49ers are again in a similar position as they were Sunday, it's advisable to tack on at least a few insurance points in order to walk away with a sure win.

Of course, the likelihood that the Niners find themselves up 35-3 over 6-4 Dallas this weekend is awfully low.
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About Richard Brear

My first newspaper article of many appeared in print in the 1960's, but my fascination with journalism never got too serious until roughly twenty years later. In the 80's, I became a certified teacher of English Language Arts, got degrees from the University of Houston, and began teaching writing...
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